[Advaita-l] Two Advaitic verses with a profound combined purport

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 05:16:44 EDT 2019


On Tue, 9 Apr 2019, 01:25 Srinath Vedagarbha, <svedagarbha at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste,
> On Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 11:33 PM Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> The reason for this is because the niShedha itself is vyAvahArika, having
>> Brahman as its adhiShThAna and it cannot negate it's own adhiShThAna.
>> I am afraid niShedha itself cannot be vyAvahArika , otherwise itself gets
> sublated (when pAramArthika is realized) and hence existence of world is
> affirmed.

This question has been addressed by Sri Madhusudana Sarasvati. The niShedha
of the niShedha need not necessarily lead to the affirmation of the
pratiyogi. In some cases it happens, but not always. Where the negation of
the pratiyogi and the negation of that negation are different, the negation
of the  negation leads to the reality of pratiyogi.

The example given is where the nedam rajatam jnAna first arises and then is
later negated. The negation of negation leads to the affirmation of the
rajata in this case.

But where both niShedha and pratiyogi are negated by the same negation - on
the basis of the same dharma (niShedhyatA avacChedaka dharma being the
same) - the negation of negation does not affirm the pratiyogi, because the
pratiyogi has been negated by the very same negation.

The example given is where both horse-ness and cow-ness dharma-s are
negated by the same negation in an elephant. Where horse-ness is present
elephant-ness is absent. Similarly cow-ness. Thus if the basis of negation
is that everything that implies the absence of elephant-ness is to be
negated, by such a negation, both cow-ness and horse-ness are negated.

Similarly, in nyAya, when the dhvamsa (physical destruction) of the pot
occurs, it is held that both the pot and its atyantAbhAva are negated. Thus
the negation of atyantAbhAva need not lead to the affirmation of the
pratiyogi, because the pratiyogi too is negated by the same dhvamsa

> As has been pointed out by Tatvavaada scholars like Sri. Jayatiirtha, the
> mithya niShedhatvaM itself has be a Paaramaarthika satya; otherwise, if it
> is itself vyaavahaarika, then it  is not true, and will lapse, meaning that
> the  mithya vyAvahArika itself becomes a Paaramaarthika satya.
See above.

In the standard example of the rope-snake illusion, the false perception of
> the snake and its subsequent negation are must be true at the end after the
> illusion lapses. The man cannot deny that his perception of the snake and
> its negation itself was false.

If both the snake illusion and its negation are objects in a dream, they
are both sublated upon waking up. The negation of the snake is not real,
being an object in the dream. The negatability of the sarpa niShedha does
not confer reality to the snake, it too being an object in the dream.

>> A question may arise here - if some aspect of the object is preserved
>> after negation, how can it be svarUpeNa niShedha - a total negation of the
>> object?
>> We have to see the context of where svarUpeNa niShedha occurs in the
>> advaita siddhi. It is in the context of the second definition of mithyAtva
>> - pratipannopAdhau traikAlika niShedha pratiyogitvam.
> I would argue this traikAlikika niShedha concept of MS is in direct
> tension with Shanakara's notion. Sankara (and other the classical
> Advaitins) are at some pains to point out that they do not deny the
> proximate reality of the world experience and urge that said experience
> *will be* eventually sublated/negated.  For example his comm. on IU 17
> where he reads "so.ahamasmi" as  "bhavAmi". Also elsewhere Shanakara
> says 'kiMcha brahmavidAmanubhavo .api prapanchasya bAdhakaH| teShAM
> niShprapanchAtmadarshanasya vidyamAnatvAt.h ' and conveys the idea that
> prapancha bhAdhaka (negation of this world) happens at the same time as
> raise of brahmajnAna only and cannot be said to be stand negated even
> before that event (past and present in traikAlika)

The two examples cited do not establish this. bhavAmi does not mean "I will
become", that would be "bhaviShyAmi" - bhavAmi means "I become", and in
this context "I am". Yes, the second example says that the sublation of the
world happens upon the rise of brahmajnAna, but that in itself does not
preclude the nature of sublation from being traikAlika. Just to clarify,
the bAdha may occur in the future, but when it occurs, it reveals that the
object of sublation did not exist in any period of time. I will later
present three examples from the writings of early AchArya's that
demonstrate this. In fact, in one of the examples given below,
Shankaracharya goes further to argue that the world does not even exist in
the first place for it to be sublated - so we cannot even say the world is
available for it to be sublated.

> With some of the samples as seen above, it is indeed debatable whether MS
> is aligned with Shankara.

Firstly, this is not Madhusudana Sarasvati's definition of mithyAtva, this
definition comes from the vivaraNakAra himself. In fact, this has been the
position of advaitins from antiquity - Gaudapada, Shankaracharya and
Sureshvaracharya have all said that when the bAdha occurs, it sublates the
world in all three periods of time.

For example, in the mANDUkya kArika, Gaudapada has said from the point of
view of the jnAni: प्रपञ्चो यदि विद्येत निवर्तेत न संशयः । मायामात्रमिदं
द्वैतमद्वैतं परमार्थतः ॥ - if the world existed, it would be subject to
sublation. However, this duality is only an illusion, reality is non dual.
That is, upon the dawn of knowledge, it becomes clear that the world never
existed as such, and what was seen previously was only an illusion.

Shankaracharya who often refers to Gaudapadacharya as a sampradAyavit (the
knower of tradition), thereby acknowledging his views as firmly within the
pantheon of advaita teaching from time immemorial, confirms that that not
just after the world's sublation after the rise of jnAna, even now, there
is no such thing as the world -

प्रपञ्चनिवृत्त्या चेत्प्रतिबुध्यते, अनिवृत्ते प्रपञ्चे कथमद्वैतमिति,
उच्यते । सत्यमेवं स्यात्प्रपञ्चो यदि विद्येत ; रज्ज्वां सर्प इव
कल्पितत्वान्न तु स विद्यते । विद्यमानश्चेत् निवर्तेत, न संशयः । न हि
रज्ज्वां भ्रान्तिबुद्ध्या कल्पितः सर्पो विद्यमानः सन्विवेकतो निवृत्तः ; न च
माया मायाविना प्रयुक्ता तद्दर्शिनां चक्षुर्बन्धापगमे विद्यमाना सती निवृत्ता
; तथेदं प्रपञ्चाख्यं मायामात्रं द्वैतम् ; रज्जुवन्मायाविवच्च अद्वैतं
परमार्थतः ; तस्मान्न कश्चित्प्रपञ्चः प्रवृत्तो निवृत्तो वास्तीत्यभिप्रायः ॥

(Trans) -  If by the sublation of the world, one awakens (to reality), how
can non-dual reality be said to exist even when the world remains
unsublated ? To this question, the following answer is given. This would be
true if the world really existed, however, like the snake imagined in a
rope, it does not exist. If it existed, it would no doubt be sublated. The
snake, erroneously imagined in a rope, does not exist for it to then
disappear through knowledge. Nor does the illusion conjured by a magician
first exist and then disappear as though a veil thrown over the seers' eyes
were then to be removed. Similarly, this duality, which is called the
world, is merely an illusion. Like the rope and the magician (in the
examples), the Non-Dual (Atma) is the only reality. Therefore, there is no
such thing as the world on which its appearance or disappearance can be

Even Sureshvaracharya had said:  तत्त्वमस्यादिवाक्योत्थसम्बन्धधीजन्ममात्रत:
| अविद्या सह कार्येण नासीदस्ति भविष्यति || By the mere rise of knowledge
born out of the sentences such as "You are that", etc., ignorance and its
products have no past, present or future existence.

Thus this sublation in all three periods of time is not something that is
Madhusudana's invention - it is firmly ensconced within the advaita
tradition as evidenced from the some of the earliest (ie of the ones
extant) advaita works.

Best wishes,


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